Carnegie Mellon University’s Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) is a NAAB-accredited degree program that leverages the unparalleled opportunities at CMU. Our students graduate with a professional degree that prepares them to excel in practice—but that also launches them into key specialties within the profession.
The B.Arch is a 5-year, first professional degree program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) with a precisely defined set of Student Performance Criteria (SPC). This program is for students that are set upon pursuing a career as a licensed architect, and centers around a carefully structured set of professional and technical courses about building design and construction. Due to the technical nature of the B.Arch program, it is STEM-eligible, meaning that in addition to one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT), a student on an F1 visa may apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension following graduation.
School of Architecture undergraduate students are admitted to the School of Architecture without a declared degree program. By the end of the second year, students must select either the B.Arch or the Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (B.A.) degree program. The student’s first-year advisor, faculty mentors, and head provide mentoring and information to guide the student in selecting their degree option.
In the first year, the B.Arch program begins with the same studio-based curriculum as the B.A., but then begins to diverge in terms of opportunities and outcomes. The B.Arch requires 10 studios. All students begin with a highly scripted three-year sequence of foundation courses and studios—the fundamental, core architecture education essential for every professional. In the fourth and fifth years, students follow a path forged by their own interests, choosing an Advanced Synthesis Option Studio (ASOS) and electives each semester.
You might specialize: if your heart is in architectural robotics, you could take a robotics-based ASOS four semesters in a row—and university-wide supporting electives to match. Or you could hybridize: our students are building niches for themselves at the crossroads of sustainability and computation, or urban design and building performance—the very combinations that will save the world in the coming years. Or you could take a more traditional route, opting for studios whose work builds in complexity, until you graduate ready to design extensive, complex building systems.
We provide the opportunities, the guidance, and the expertise; you provide the passion.
Studio Life: welcome to design thinking
Studio is the backbone of our undergraduate education and the epicenter of architecture students’ lives. Our bright, open studio spaces give you both your own place and the opportunity to collaborate with hundreds of students and professors as passionate about design as you are.
Your professor—an award-winning local architect or one of the world’s leading sustainability experts—doesn’t stand at the front of a 200-seat lecture hall; the two of you engage in intense conversation at your desk, sketching and questioning and pushing the boundaries of your project. You and your small cohort – 5 to 12 students – develop collaborative friendships, and your work absorbs the creativity and energy of the studio environment. Studio life is not limited to the studio space, it extends into the Design Fabrication (dFAB) Lab and the Shop, the campus and the community.
Due to the technical nature of the B.Arch program, it has been assigned a CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) code by the Department of Education that is STEM-eligible. This means that in addition to one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT), a student on an F1 visa may apply for a 24-month OPT STEM Extension following graduation. All School of Architecture STEM-designated degree programs are characterized by a rigorous, research-based pedagogy with emphases on computational design, building science, industry, and/or practice.
For more information, please also refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook linked to below.